I can definitely say that life is never boring. This Saturday, the 8th October, Lucy arrived at around 14:10 at Sheffield station with seven months worth of belongings encased in two suitcases (one was humongous, one was small) accompanied by a handbag and laptop bag! The image reminded me of the many adventures lugging all sorts and types of luggage across the world. Magically, this large load fit into the Seat Mii’s little boot and off we went to show Lucy the sights of Sheffield.
Danny and I had googled the ‘top ten things to do in Sheffield’ on TripAdvisor. If I’m honest… there ain’t much? We settled on the Botanical Gardens towards the west of the city and managed to find a little car parking space (for free) just outside the south entrance. As we pulled our jackets tighter to our chests as we stepped out into the cold breeze, we headed up into the garden grounds expecting to see plants, plants and more plants. It was smaller than we expected but has many winding paths and secluded grassy areas where people were sitting and chatting, playing frisbee, gathering together for meetings, etc. We popped into the cafe to get some water and ended up sitting down for a cuppa in the bright greenhouse. Once watered and energised, we walked around the gardens and saw a record number of squirrels prancing around burying and finding chestnut and other nuts for winter. Autumn is my favourite season (and another reason why I love my Chinese name 静秋 (which means quiet autumn)).
The colours of the leaves on the trees, the bright blue skies and plummeting temperatures that make a good countryside walk be extra rewarding. The hot drinks that feel like they warm our souls as we walk from lectures to home or see a friend. My new craze and obsession are mochas. I never thought I’d be one to drink coffee as I don’t even like tea… but I’ve crossed the line. Although I can’t handle strong mochas, I have converted. (my insta definitely backs this up as most of the recent photos feature some cup of coffee from somewhere!)
Once we had been on our autumnal stroll we returned to the car and headed into the centre of town to show Lucy the centre of the city: the Peace Gardens, the Town and City Halls, the Peace Gardens, the Winter Gardens and… a recently renovated McDonald’s.
Good tour? I’m glad you agree.
As it was a Saturday night, it was not a time to go to bed early. Instead, we ate dinner at home then crossed the road from my house to go to the Blake Hotel for a drink and to play board games. Due to popular demand of the five of us, my housemates Kate and Corentin joined us, the game ‘Cards of Humanity’ was chosen (against my will) as the first game. It is not a game for the faint-hearted and Kate won 😀 The next game was Taboo which Kate also won. 11:30pm rolled around and we called it a night. Although Kate and Corentin stayed up to watch Zoolander… the rest of us only lasted half the film before retiring to bed.
On Sunday we headed down to Nottingham as I wanted to show Lucy where I’ve spent the past four years of my life and coincidentally it was the last day of the Goose Fair. We parked at Danny’s and Lucy and I headed into the city to have lunch at a fantastic burger place called Annie’s Burger Shack.
Once stufffffed with curly fries and delicious burgers we wandered around the centre and managed to snap a picture of two very British things = a red post box and red telephone box. As Lucy is technically British as she was born here before she moved to the land of Australia at the little age of eight, it was absolutely necessary that she have a photo taken!
From there we headed up to the Fair to the north of the city centre at a massive football pitch/park/grassland called Forest Fields. The place was buzzing. The sounds of rides, the workers on the stalls shouting out prizes and other fun things to do, the lights and pounding pop music from the bumper cars and fast paced small roller coasters. Lucy and I braved the massive swing that goes at least fifty foot into the air (eeeekkk!) and then wandered the fair for the next hour.
We joined the Nottingham University’s Contemporary China Society (of which Danny is the President) and went back into the centre of town to 200 degrees for a coffee and a chat. By six o’clock we were talked out and ready to head home. Lucy and I drove back up to Sheffield and watched Edward Scissorhands before heading to sleep.
It’s amazing how short weekends are these days…
Ps. if you’re curious, google a ‘drop bear’ = it’s a bit for five-minute entertainment!